Residential Growth

Residential GrowthResidential Growth Indicators (what we measure)


Residential growthRecent census data shows a slight growth in population of the three main centres of Morrinsville, Matamata, and Te Aroha. Rural population shows a slight decrease between 1996 and 2006, but a slight increase between 2006 and 2013.

Residential growth puts extra pressure on the use of good quality soils for agricultural purposes, and also can create adverse effects from the construction, location and dominance of new buildings. New development can also affect the open space character of residential and rural areas. Growth in the number of dwellings is likely to be an issue, as between 2006 and 2013 the district’s population increased by 3.5 per cent, while the number of dwellings increased by 8.8 per cent.

Our Situation 


As of 2009/10 there are a total of 1896 hectares of land zoned for residential and rural-residential purposes in the district. In 2015/16 there were 460 lots between 2,500 and 10,000 m² in the areas zoned Residential and Rural-Residential. 14 residential or rural-residential lots between 2,500m2 and 1 hectare in area were granted consent in 2016/17, and 16 additional lots were granted consent in 2017/18.

Between 2008/09 and 2017/18, 892 new residential lots have been granted subdivision consents. This has included major developments such as:

  • An 86 lot development in Banks Road, Matamata, in two stages from 2009/10 to 2010/11.
  • A 44 lot development in Mangawhero Road, Matamata in 2016/17.
  • A 32 lot development in Fairway, Morrinsville in 2016/17.
  • A 155 lot development in Jellicoe Road, Matamata, in 2017/18, to be created in five stages.

In 2017/18, the total of 270 new lots was the highest in the last 10 years. Residential subdivision between 2013/14 and 2015/16 all stemmed from small-scale, two lot subdivisions, except for a four lot subdivision in 2015/16.


Between 2008/09 and 2017/18, 989 building consents have been granted for the creation of new dwellings within the Residential Zone. Nearly a fifth of these consents were granted in the 2008/09 year, after which the number of building consents granted dropped sharply, until a rebound in 2015/16 and 2016/17. This is likely to be due to the economic recession of the late 2000s and its lingering impact on the economy. The increasing economic confidence of recent years has resulted in house price growth and a building boom which helps explain the sharp increase of building consents granted in 2015/16 to 2016/17. However, the 2017/18 figure of 101 building consents is very close to the annual average over the last ten years.

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2017 amended the RMA so that from 2017/18 subdivision will be permitted unless it is expressly restricted by a District Plan rule or a National Environmental Standard, which indicates that subdivision is potentially acceptable as a permitted activity in certain circumstances.

Development controls are in place for new developments to ensure any negative impacts are minimised. These include ‘maximum heights for buildings’, ‘yards’, ‘site coverage’, etc. The number of resource consents granted to breach development controls has generally followed the level of activity in residential subdivision and building construction over the last ten years. This suggests that, at this stage, the existing development controls are not creating increasing pressure on the efficient use of land.

Since 2007/08, no resource consent applications have been declined for non-compliance with Council development controls. The potential cost of making a resource consent application may discourage people from submitting designs which contravene the development control rules. It’s possible that the costs involved with an unsuccessful resource consent application might offset the potential gain made from increased building intensity or height.

Protected Trees and Amenity

New development can also affect amenity values through the removal of trees protected by the District Plan. A total of five consents have been issued to remove trees in the last 10 years.

During 2008, Council completed a plan change to amend the tree protection provisions within the District Plan. Previously, a resource consent was required to remove, or do any major work to any tree in the urban area that was over 10 metres in height, which was deemed to be too restrictive. In addition, changes to the Resource Management Act meant that only trees listed in a schedule of the District Plan could be protected. A process was undertaken to identify those trees which added to the amenity of the district and these were added to the schedule of outstanding or significant natural features and trees and other protected items. This plan change aimed to give confidence to whether or not resource consent was needed to remove a tree, and to also remove unnecessary restrictions.

The plan change allows notable trees to be removed as a permitted activity if they are dead, dying or terminally damaged. This change has been reflected in the reduced number of consents granted for tree removal.

In 2014/15, Plan Change 48 – Protected Trees commenced, which reviewed the rules and provisions relating to protected trees, as well as Schedule 3 in the District Plan, which listed all 272 protected trees and outstanding or significant natural features in our District.

All currently protected trees were examined by an arborist, using the Standard Tree Evaluation Method to assess and score them. Council nominated a threshold score of 140 that all trees proposed for protection must meet and then held a public formal submission process in 2015/16.

As a consequence of Plan Change 48, which became operative in 2016/17, 97 individual or groups of trees achieve the threshold of 140 and have been protected by Schedule 3A the District Plan. 129 trees or groups of trees were removed from the schedule and are longer protected by the District Plan. A further 46 items, including stands of trees and remnants of bush, were transferred to schedule 3B: “Outstanding or Significant natural features and other protected items”.

Provision of Services

By the 2015/16 year, 9,649 properties had access to water and 9,143 had access to wastewater. By 2016/17 this increased to 9,706 properties with access to water and 9,217 properties with access to waste water. The 2017/18 figures were not available at the time of writing.

The Morrinsville water supply will support the forecast population growth over the next five years, with a new bore completed in 2014/15 and the construction of a new reservoir, completed in October 2017. The upgraded Morrinsville wastewater plant will have sufficient capacity well into the future.

A new bore was drilled at Waharoa in 2014/15 to reduce the demand on the Matamata reticulation network, but there has been no increase in the volume of water that Council is permitted to extract. A larger reservoir has been established at the Matamata water treatment plant. The town’s sewer plant was upgraded in 2011 and has adequate capacity for forecast growth, but an upgrading of reticulation will be required.

The Te Aroha water supply is adequate for residential growth, but if water consumption by industrial users increases significantly, upgrading of treatment facilities will be required. Council budgeted $2 million in 2016/17 for the Te Aroha Water Treatment Plant capacity expansion project. The progression of this project is dependent on demand from industrial consumers, which has not yet been established.

The Te Aroha waste water plant has adequate capacity to meet forecast population growth in the town.


What Council Is Doing

Council wishes to encourage new development within existing zone boundaries where possible, as infrastructure services are readily available. This should result in contiguous growth within urban areas. In 2016/17, Council notified for submission Plan Change 47 which, as part of reviewing the extent of existing zoning in our three main towns, proposed a reduction in the minimum lot size for residential zoned properties, and for infill subdivision properties close to the town centres.

Infill subdivisions are subdivisions in residential areas, on lots with existing dwellings. In 2015/16, 11 new infill lots were created and in 2016/17, 28 new residential infill lots were created. In 2017/18, there were 22 new infill lots. Smaller developments are likely to subdivide existing residential properties, whereas larger developments are more likely to create residential development on previously undeveloped land.

Development contributions are collected by Council from developers to assist in providing works and services to residential communities. They are paid when a development has been completed.

In 2015/16, the number of development and financial contributions increased by about a fifth over the previous year, but their value more than doubled. The amount collected from Residential development, roading, and works and network utility development contributions all rose considerably from the previous year. In 2016/17, the number of contributions climbed again, but their value dropped nearly 60%. In 2017/18, the number and value of development contributions more than tripled, in line with a three-fold increase in Residential development, roading, and works and network utility development contributions,

Number and value of development and financial contributions collected per year 

Year 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15  15/16 16/17 17/18
Number 135 118 238 219 160 196 181  220 347 1,078
$ Value (in 000's) 1,136 297 373 394 421 366 315  895 524 1,795

Includes Network contributions and Parks and Reserves contributions

Council spends considerable amounts of money on maintaining and upgrading urban services such as sewerage, water and stormwater. Council spent $13,248,075 in 2015/16, $11,281,143 in 2016/17 and $15,816,111 in 2017/18.

What You Can Do To Help

Support and encourage residential development in line with the Council’s resource management policies.

How are we Doing?

Anticipated Environmental Results



  • AchievingAchieving
  • Progress towards achievementProgress towards achievement
  • Not AchieveingNot Achieving
  • Not MonitoredNot Monitored
Contiguous, orderly expansion of residential zoning onto the finite good quality soils Not Monitored
All land titles are to be useable now and for future generations Progress towards  achievement
Land titles must not compromise the achievement of the Plan’s objectives and policies Progress towards  achievement
More equitable funding of Council services Achieving
Reduction of public funding of infrastructure servicing private development Achieving

Click here to learn more about District Plan Effectiveness and read the full report on Residential Growth

For More Information

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Matamata-Piako District Council
PO Box 266, Te Aroha 3342
Phone: 07 884 0060
Fax: 07 884 8865